(KCPW News) Utah Senator Orrin Hatch’s line of questioning in the second day of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearing drew criticism from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy yesterday. Hatch responded, “Let me ask my questions the way I want to,” then went on to explain the exchange to Kagan and those watching the proceedings.
Hatch: “We have to have a little back and forth every once in a while, or this place would be boring as hell, I’ll tell you.”
Kagan: “And it gets the spotlight off me, you know. So I’m all for it, go right ahead.”
Hatch: “And by the way, I’ve been informed that hell is not boring. You can imagine what I mean by that.”
Kagan: “Just hot.”
Hatch’s questions yesterday focused on the landmark Citizens United case Kagan argued before the high court as Solicitor General, and lost. He complained President Barack Obama and “those on the left” are wrong to criticize the ruling, which upheld corporate funding of political speech under the First Amendment.
When Hatch inquired whether Kagan felt the case was wrongly decided, she responded that as Solicitor General, she has served as an advocate for the federal government and therefore felt the government should have prevailed in that case. However, she added:
“I want to make a clear distinction between my views as an advocate and any views that I might have as a judge,” said Kagan.
Hatch has not indicated how he’ll vote on Kagan’s confirmation, but has said she appears to support judicial activism, of which he is a strong critic.